Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

New Year, New Goals

on January 7, 2013

Goodbye, 2012. Hello, 2013.

Some people greet the new year with eager anticipation, embracing change and fresh opportunity. I, however, find myself greeting 2013 much like my toddler greets a strange dog. There’s excitement and anticipation, to be sure. But as the new year races toward me, there’s a definite moment of anticipation as I wait to see whether it proffers a gentle paw of friendship or knocks us flat on our backsides.

As we embark on the new year, Daddy Bear has officially joined the ranks of the unemployed. During the job hunt, we’re making an effort to cut all extraneous spending from the budget. That means no random book, game, DVD, toy, or craft purchases for the foreseeable future. (We have plenty of resources already. Mommy just happens to be a book/educational product junkie. …) We’re contemplating yet another move. We may also be facing weeks or months of separation if contract work takes Daddy to another part of the state or country. Any way you cut it, 2013 is going to be stressful. So what changes do I want to make to help us weather the year ahead?

    1. Love more. 

      Yes, we’re a family, and yes, we love each other. The girls hear the words “I love you” dozens of times each day. In fact, the first sentence Baby Bear uttered was “I yuv you!” But there are also times (plenty of them) that we drive each other crazy. As we move into a stress-filled year, my number one goal is to give my children the security of knowing that we love them — and one another — all the time … even at 4 a.m., even when we’re prying Play-Doh out of the carpet or cleaning up yet another potty accident, even when they’re grumpy or out of control, even when we’re grumpy and out of sorts.

    2. Play more. 

      I do a great job of selecting quality toys and games for the girls. I don’t do such a great job of actually sitting down and playing with them, however. My goal for 2013 is to spend at least an hour a day actively playing with my kids. Not “academic” play, mind you. Actual get-down-on-the-floor-and-roughhouse or play freeze tag or race cars down ramps or dress Snap-n-Style dolls for the 213th time play. We’ll still find time to build Duplo patterns, create healthy play food meals, and play math or reading games to be sure, but I don’t want academics to overshadow healthy, active, imagination-building and memory-making FUN.

    3. Listen more. 

      The most convicting Facebook quote of 2012?

      Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.
      ~Catherine M. Wallace

      Ouch. How often have I scolded my children for “not listening,” only to turn around and tune out their childish prattle so I can get some work done? Really, what work could possibly be more important than the work of hearing and understanding my children’s hearts?

    4. Read more. 

      I spend at least an hour a day reading to the girls, but I honestly cannot remember the last time I read a “Mommy” book from cover to cover. I bought at least a dozen “for Mommy” books last year, eagerly read the first few chapters they arrived, then set them down next to my computer to read “when I had time.” This year, I want to take full advantage of the 24 hours I have in every day and make time to read books that inspire me, challenge me, and help me become a better parent to my children.Topping Mommy’s reading list for the next month?

       
    5. Find more enjoyment in what we already have.

      Though it may not seem so at first glance, this goal goes hand in hand with all the above. As we move into 2013, I want to make a conscious effort to enjoy my children, to enjoy playing with them, to enjoy listening to them. I want to help them enjoy the countless toys, games, books, puzzles, craft supplies, and other learning tools they already have. I want to take time to enjoy books already sitting on our shelves.

      Is part of this fueled by a need to cut expenses? Yes. But to a much larger degree, I’m realizing how blessed we truly are. We have enough. And frankly, I’d rather spend my time enjoying our blessings than participating in the feverish rat race to gain more, more, more.


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